I had originally planned to race Miami 2 weeks prior as well as this race, but I felt like my preparation would be a little rushed. I decided to give myself a little more time to prepare for Austin rather than risk two mediocre results by squeezing Miami in there too. I had a pretty limited prep, with only about 5 weeks work after a little break post 70.3 Worlds. I started working with Matt Dixon from Purple Patch Fitness about a month ago, after Tim Reed and I amicably parted ways in coach/athlete relationship. After meeting with Matt in Kona I knew I was going to be in safe hands. His history and stable of athletes and results he has produced is impressive and I am really excited to be moving forward under Matt.
I had a pretty disruptive travel to Austin, with floods damaging the signal towers at Austin airport. My flight on Thursday was cancelled and moved to Friday. That flight was then delayed by 3 hours, which left me arriving at 9:30pm Friday night. Not disastrous but inconvenient and left me feeling pretty flat on Saturday.
I was pretty confident leading into the race. I had done a short, but solid block of work at altitude in Boulder and I knew that I was in decent shape. The previous results throughout 2015 have seen a huge shift in my mental approach to racing. Without sounding arrogant, I have managed to scalp some pretty big names this year and I know now that I can be competitive at each race regardless of who is on the start line.
The race was Sunday morning at 7am. It was pretty chilly first thing, but the sun soon warmed things up. There was a pretty sizable 37 pro men on the start line. I swam well, but the lake was choppy due to the wind and I found it hard to get my stroke rate up. Regardless I exited right where I needed to be in the top couple of guys.
There were about 7 of us onto the bike together, and I knew the main threat on two wheels would be Andrew Starkywicz. Two weeks ago at Miami he set a new bike course world record in a blistering time of 1:56. He quickly rode to the front and did what he does best, and I was left chasing trying to limit the time he would no doubt put in on the bike. After about 30km I was alone in 2nd, about a minute down on Starky, but not long after he suffered a mechanical and I soon found myself in the lead. I got a surge of adrenaline and pushed the next 30km of the bike trying to establish as much time as possible going into the run. The roads were rough, full of potholes and the ride was relatively hilly for a triathlon. The whole race actually reminded me a lot of Vineman, which I raced earlier in the year with a similar terrain and road surface. The wind picked up at times and I really had to make sure I was pushing my watts to maintain my forward momentum. Starky managed to re catch me after dealing with his mechanical over the last few kilometers, another seriously impressive ride by him.
Starky and I came off the bike together with a little bit of breathing room to the guys chasing. I quickly surged to the front and was eager to get more of an idea of the time gaps to the guys playing for 3rd I was fairly confident I could outrun Starky, but he was not letting me get away with the win easily. He kept me at about 1min for most of the run, not allowing me any time to back off the pace. With 3km to go i was really able to start enjoying the run and I came into the finish extremely happy to put together another win with a solid performance across all three disciplines. 2015 has been my best year to date and to finish on this high note is really satisfying.
Thanks to my team; Rudy Project, Bahrain Endurance, Giant Bicycles, Scody, Shimano, Shotz Nutrition, 3DBIKEFIT, PurplePatch Fitness and thanks everyone for the messages of support. I have to also thank my home stay Pablo and his sister Laura. You guys were great and i really appreciated your extremely generous hospitality.
See you all in 2016.